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Mars Bar Faces Wrecking Ball as New Tower Gets Unveiled

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BFC Partners brought its bombshell plan to build a 12-story, 60-unit building on lower Second Avenue to Community Board 3's land use and zoning subcommittee last night, and here's the headline: Rumors of Mars Bar's demise have been greatly underestimated. At least when it comes to the shell of the legendary East Village dive. Initial reports were that BFC merely planned to renovate 9 Second Avenue and 11-17 Second Avenue and add a mix of affordable and market-rate housing, but the design unveiled last night revealed the truth, which is demolition of the old buildings and a new 12-story structure. That estimated two-year Mars Bar closure makes a bit more sense now, eh?

Pictured above is the East 1st Street elevation, and below is the view along Second Avenue. The building fits right in with the new look of this corner of the Lower East Side/East Village, which is dominated by the Avalon rentals. Mars Bar's owner said that he'll wind up with a space three or four times the size of the original bar, but based on the glassy storefronts in the renderings, could this future establishment really be called Mars Bar?

Of course, the project needs a series of go-aheads first, and after a surprisingly calm discussion, all but one committee member voted to support the motion. The project will now face the judgment of the entire board, but it looks promising, especially since the tenants in the buildings support the plan. Then it's on to the City Council. Bowery Boogie was also in the house, and has the details on what the low-income tenants are getting out of the deal. BFC's rep said the company isn't sure whether the 48 market-rate units will be rentals or sales.


· More on the 12-story Second Avenue housing plan [Bowery Boogie]
· Mars Bar Will Close (Temporarily!) to Make Way for New Apartments [Curbed]